23-month-old boy dead, left inside of truck for 8 hours; father bonds out of jail

Firefighter father charged with agg. manslaughter
Posted at 7:29 PM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-12 12:45:39-04

UPDATE: A Hillsborough County firefighter accused of leaving his son in a hot car for several hours has bonded out of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and is now on paid administrative leave.

Original Story | 23-month-old boy dead after being left inside truck

PALM HARBOR, Fla. - The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is charging the father of a young child found dead inside of a vehicle with aggravated manslaughter.

Deputies received a call around 4:30 p.m. informing them a 23-month-old boy was left inside of a truck in the driveway of a home on Castlewood Lane in Palm Harbor. According to the Pinellas County Sheriff, the boy, Lawson Whitaker, had been dead for sometime.

Troy Whitaker, a Hillsborough County firefighter, was taking his daughter to school and his son to daycare Friday morning, according to Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. He dropped his daughter off, but for some unknown reason, didn't drop his son off. He then went home and parked his truck in the driveway. That was around 8:30 a.m.

Later in the afternoon, Whitaker went to Publix and drove home. While unloading groceries, he noticed his son in his car seat. He immediately pulled his son out, performed CPR and called 911. Unfortunately, his son was already dead.

"It's not an intentional act. I'm not saying it is. What I'm saying is, you've got to be responsible for your kids. You can't leave them in their car seat for 8 hours, let their body temperature get to 108 degrees and they die." Sheriff Gualtieri said.